Turning your laptop screen into a touchscreen with AirBar

AirBar brings the capabilities of a touchscreen to your laptop. No tools or software are required, just a simple USB plugin provides you with the ability pinch, swipe, zoom, tap and draw using your finger, a stylus or even a paintbrush.  Presently AirBar works on computers with Windows 7, 8, or 10 or a Chromebook. Just plug it in and create an interactive screen.AirBar

Plan it, do it, check it off

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When we think about Apps often the first thing that comes to mind is related to what games a person might have on their tablet or phone.  Apps however can be so much more than game based for individuals with disabilities. How often do you create a list before going to run an errand or write a to do list to insure you accomplish everything you need to get done in a day? For individuals with disabilities apps can provide access to technology to create supports to help them move towards being more independent. Plan it, do it, check it off is one such App.
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plan it do it check it off 2Plan it, do it, check it off  is an iPhone and iPad app that allows the user to build step-by-step photo and audio picture prompt sequences.

 

The individual using this app is provided with real photos to create a customized “To do”. The app contains a 26 page picture bank, with real picture images, that illustrate events but also allows the user to import their own photos and customize the text. As the individual completes an activity or task they tap the picture to place a check mark on the picture or play a prerecorded message to prompt  them. Another feature is the ability to create self-talk videos that can provide needed directions without having to be prompted by others. Plan it, do it, check it off is available for $4.99 in the iTunes App store.

 

Minecraft breaks down classroom barriers

 

Who would of thought that a video game that gives kids the tools to build with 3D blocks and dig holes in a virtual reality would lead to improving skills in the classroom. Minecraft is a game of discovery, construction, and learning, and it’s being used in a variety of school settings for mathematics, physics, history, and reading comprehension. Scott McKenzie, a teacher, uses Minecraft in his classroom to help remove barriers and provide students who struggle a means to show what they know.

Toy box tools from Hasbro

It’s that time of year when the commercials for toys are at a premium and many parents contemplate what toys are best for their children.  For parents of children with disabilities this question can be difficult to answer.  It is not just the buying of the toys but how to teach their child to play with them once they bring them home. Working in collaboration with The Autism Project, Hasbro has created resources to help families, teachers and professionals make the most of playtime.  Toy Box Tools are videos and downloadable playbooks modeling how to play with selected toys.  The Toy Box Tools are broken down into three levels basic play, expanding play and social play.  Each level has its own video and playbook demonstrating how to play with the same toy based on where the child is developmentally. Follow the link to view the available resources and watch the videos. http://toyboxtools.hasbro.com/toys

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Visuals to help with holiday schedule changes

Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season which brings many changes to our schedules.  Even the most organized adult needs their lists, calendars and visual reminders to help navigate all the special happenings between Thanksgiving and New Years.  What do you have in your toolbox to help your students or children navigate the changes in their schedules?  Indiana University Bloomington’s Resource Center for Autism has social stories, calendars, schedule icons and choice boards featuring Boardmaker symbols that are ready to click and print, a great resource to any educator or parent’s toolbox.

http://www.iidc.indiana.edu/index.php?pageId=3613&mode=mod_resources&action=display_category&resource_cat=13&r=1363113203

To Siri, With Love

Have you ever used Siri to ask directions, silly questions, facts on a specific topic or the meaning of life? One 13 year old boy with autism has found a friend in the Apple Personal Assistant known lovingly as Siri. He has found answers to questions pertaining to his special interests, love, marriage and friendship while conversing with Siri. This New York Times piece is a heartwarming story of technology and humanity coming together to create a relationship that fosters communication in our 21st century world.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/fashion/how-apples-siri-became-one-autistic-boys-bff.html

Group by Group Just another WordPress.com site

Joy (Occupational Therapist), Cara (Speech Therapist), Jeannie (Special Education Teacher) and Danni (Special Education Teacher) all work at a center based school serving students who have significant intellectual disabilities. They look for ways to provide multi-sensory learning experiences to enable their students with special needs to improve their literacy, fine motor and communication skills. In addition, Nancy (Physical Therapist) provides technical and creative support.

This team uses their expertise to create monthly themes incorporating activities to meet the needs of their students with significant intellectual disabilities. Check out what they have done with comic books, elephants, the World Cup and the seasons to name a few of their themes.

http://groupbygroup.wordpress.com/

Therese Willkomm – The McGyver of AT

Over the last few months, we’ve had the privilege of participating in Therese Willkomm’s workshops demonstrating how she uses every day materials to create AT solutions for individuals with disabilities.  Dr. Willkomm is the director of ATinNH, the New Hampshire state wide assistive technology program with the Institute on Disability and is an assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at the University of New Hampshire.  She uses a wide variety of easy to find materials like corrugated plastic, corner guard, plastic tubing and U Glue to create iPad and book stands, iPhone stands for projection, cup holders and hundreds of other practical AT supports.  Check out her Traveling Eileen™ iPad holder, www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGxcYbFO-Fg

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To learn more about her creative ideas, read her book, Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes Book II: Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions.